HOW DID THEY DO IT? COMIC RELIEF!
By the way Bruce and “Old Bill” are one and the same. “Old Bill” is a character created by Bruce which gained visibility through the the “Bystander” Magazine.
At the onset of WWII, Bruce and “Old Bill” became the official cartoonist to the American forces in Europe. As well Bruce drew cartoons at various American bases. If you love “nose art” Bruce was a master at it.
Just to be clear here, we are not talking about Danny Thomas or Jimmy Durante, we are talking about the “nose” of a military bomber aircraft WWII.
This artistic approach was another way “Old Bill” boosted moral among Air Force personnel WWII. The reality of the war included intense high battles over occupied Europe. Hundreds of heavy bombing raids over enemy lines was a regular occurrence.
As such, “nose art” provided identity to the pilots and crew. It instilled confidence and reminded them of the “good life” at home which basically gave them strength to carry on.
The messages was clear, it was all about: “our team”, “our bomber ”, “our identity, “our bombardier jackets”. “Nose art” was proudly shown. And of course, it was “our pin up girls”! In many cases “pin up girls” were the focal point of dreams and talk among the guys. (Why not take a peek.)
Twenty/twenty vision and a good pair of eyes had its benefits — with 20/10 even better!
Now IMAGINE two Air Force crew members in the cockpit on a sortie mission. Intense bombing over enemy lines! Aircraft bouncing around like a pin ball! Explosions heard far below! Fire flashes everywhere! Imagine that!
Suddenly the pilot leans over; glances out the cockpit window at his favourite “pin up” girl and says to his copilot buddy.
“Do you see that sweetie up front by the propellor?”
The pilot, “Well, when we finish bombing the “shit” out of the enemy, (pause) that’s where I’m headed - home sweet home.”
You might say “mission accomplished”!
Did you know MJR has a dozen or so “pin up girls” on our website? If you dare check them out? Yup it’s true!! Did you know there is a direct correlation between postcard collectors and baby boomers? Yup it’s true!
Now Bob was no stranger to “pin up girls”. Almost every Christmas, his “morale boosters” accompanied him. Bob might have sang a version of a song by Dion. It may have gone like this:
“Oh I’m the type of guy who will never settle down.
Where pretty girls are well, you know that I’m around.
I kiss ‘em and I love ‘em ………. they call me the wanderer.
Yeah the wanderer around around etc.”
Now that wouldn’t be Bob — would it!
BOB & BRUCE! Of course we are referring to Bob Hope and Bruce Bairnsfather — two funny guys.
Let’s do a bit of a comparison.
· Both British (England).
· Both had a deep respect for the military.
· Bruce did his best work World War I.
· Bob did his best work World War II.
· Both, for their war effort, were honoured and decorated numerous times with medals, trophies, plaques and awards by various countries.
· Both married.
· Both in radio, films, movies, T.V. and more.
· Bruce was in Canada 1927 directing the film “Carry On Sergeant”.
· Bob had a successful (comic book) published.
· Bruce was a cartoonist featured in the Bystander Magazine.
· Both never won an Oscar award. Bob’s still hoping.
· Both had a gift of ingenuity in creating humour among soldiers in the trenches or on a USS Navy battleship in the South Pacific.
· Bob may likely end this story by saying or singing:
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!
· Bruce may likely say “check out my postcards on…” MJR’s Website: mjrpostcardsandcovers.ca
Stay safe everyone and laugh a little more each day.